Saturday, 19 Oct 2019 | 20 Safar 1441
Emerging mosquito-borne diseases identified in Oman

Emerging mosquito-borne ailments identified in Oman

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Derek Roberts, entomologist, SQU, mentioned that he has trapped about 20 species of mosquitoes from Oman. “Several species of mosquitoes have been found abundantly in Oman for years, and are considered to be vectors of different diseases. Aedes aegypti, (the principal mosquito vector of dengue viruses), has been endemic to Dhofar but its presence in the recent past in the North (Muscat) and spreading dengue is strange.”

Dr Roberts added that distinct mosquitoes deemed to be vectors of numerous ailments have been there in Oman. “It is only a matter of time that the infections start to happen one day.” He added that a kind of mosquito abundant in Oman, Culex sitiens, which usually is deemed to be a vector of Japanese encephalitis, is also a feasible vector for dengue.

The findings of the pilot study carried out to determine illness pathogens carried by mosquitoes and transmitted to humans and animals in Oman and the UAE have been presented on the opening day of the Public Health Conference, which took location from January 28-31 at Arab Health 2019 in Dubai.

The study is carried out by Norbert Nowotny, Professor of Microbiology (Virology) at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai, in cooperation with Dr Jeremy Camp, an entomologist at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, and Dr Derek Roberts, entomologist at Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, for studying prospective mosquito-borne ailments.

Prof Nowotny mentioned, “Little is identified about pathogens carried by mosquitoes and transmitted to humans and animals in the Middle East, even though a comparatively higher quantity of individuals acutely infected with mosquito-borne ailments such as dengue are travelling to the UAE and are diagnosed and treated right here. Since particular viruses are generally transmitted by particular mosquito species only, it is of utmost significance to know which mosquito species are present in a nation.“

The pilot study involved trapping mosquitoes at distinct places in the UAE and Oman and, secondly, the trapped mosquitoes have been investigated for the presence of viruses.

During the study, researchers discovered Culex mosquitoes, for instance, which may well transmit the West Nile virus (WNV), and the West Nile illness was identified in the UAE in animals and in Oman also in humans. However, in the sample material, researchers did not locate WNV. “It is also important to know which mosquito species have not been detected. For example, we did not detect Aedes aegypti in UAE, which is the main vector for dengue and zika viruses. Consequently, local transmission of dengue or zika viruses in UAE seems to be unlikely,” added Prof Nowotny.

Information Source: Muscat Daily

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